Dariel Alvarez was in the mix for an roster spot last year, but he began the season at Triple-A Norfolk after a poor spring training performance. At 27 years old, Alvarez saw his overall numbers decline from his previous season at Norfolk. Though his average and on-base percentage improved, he saw his strikeout rate increase and his power greatly decline. He hit four home runs and finished with an ISO of .095. For comparison, he hit 16 home runs with an ISO of .148 in 12 fewer at-bats in 2015. Alvarez will remain an option as a big league reserve outfielder in 2017 due to his plus defensive tools, but he's unlikely to make any sort of impact at the plate. With wRC+ marks of 109 and 101 in his past two Triple-A campaigns, Alvarez appears to be no more than your typical Quadruple-A player.
Alvarez will begin working as a pitcher in minor league camp and serve as a reliever this season if all goes well, Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun reports. The Orioles requested Alvarez to change positions this spring due to deep organizational depth in the outfield. After going 0-for-11 in seven Grapefruit League games, he agreed it was time to expedite the switch. The right-hander gained pitching experience during his playing time in Cuba and says his repertoire include a fastball, curveball, and slider. In addition, manager Buck Showalter says Alvarez would be able to serve as a DH between pitching experiences, a role which would dramatically increase his usefulness to the organization. Look for the 28-year-old to open the 2017 season in a minor league bullpen as he begins this major career transformation.
Alvarez was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk on Tuesday, Rich Dubroff of Press Box Online reports. Alvarez has put on an underwhelming performance during Baltimore's spring games thus far and is currently 0-for-11 at the plate. While Alvarez should be a regular in the lineup at Triple-A Norfolk this coming season, it's unlikely that he'll se much time in the big club's outfield, as he's played in just 14 major league games over the last two seasons.
Alvarez has been asked by the Orioles if he'd be willing to switch from an outfielder to a pitcher, Rich Dubroff of MLB.com reports. With nearly a dozen outfield prospects in camp this spring, Alvarez's shot at making the 25-man roster as an outfielder is slim. While Alvarez's potential as a big league hitter is questionable, his arm isn't. The 28-year-old pitched in 22 games in Cuba over three seasons, according to Baseball-Reference.com. When asked what particular pitches he has in his repertoire, Alvarez said he throws a fastball, curveball and slider. He said the team has approached him about making the switch but that he's not ready to do that.
Alvarez will get a chance this spring to earn an outfield reserve spot on the 25-man roster, Steve Gardner of USA Today Sports reports. Alvarez, a 28-year-old power-hitting outfielder, made his MLB debut in 2015, going 7-for-29 with a home run in 12 games for the Orioles. Last season, he appeared in just two games, hitting a double and drawing a walk in four plate appearances. The Cuban-native has smashed 31 homers and amassed 160 RBI over his past two minor league seasons split between Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk. Alvarez will be the underdog in a spring battle with Joey Rickard and Christian Walker for one of the team's final roster spots.
Alvarez was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk on Friday. With Joey Rickard (thumb) landing on the DL, Alvarez was brought up for his second stint with the big club this season. His first stint lasted all of two days, and while Alvarez has hit at a .280 clip at Norfolk this year, it's about as empty a .280 average as one sees (.315 OBP, four homers, three steals). He figures to receive only sporadic opportunities.